The North Carolina Brand

Wow, Rob Christensen has just decided to let loose now and the results are awesome.  Great, great column about the lasting damage the current government is doing to our state (it’s honestly hard not to just paste the whole thing– it’s short, read it all):

North Carolina’s national brand may be changing – but not the way Gov. Pat McCrory intended when he talked during his campaign about the Tar Heel state undergoing an image makeover.

“North Carolina’s economic development brand is currently being diminished by high taxes, excessive regulation and broken state government,” was McCrory’s standard campaign line.

There was the suggestion of perhaps a new advertising slogan. The new brand that McCrory seems to want is that North Carolina is more business-friendly.

But since he took office in January, the state has been undergoing a brand change of a very different kind.

The sharp rightward turn of the legislature and the Moral Monday protests have turned North Carolina into one of the nation’s top political spectacles.

CBS News, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC and The New York Times have all beaten a path to Raleigh to gawk.

The national coverage is worth millions of dollars of publicity. Unfortunately for North Carolina, it may also be the wrong kind of publicity…

So how does the current legislature’s agenda fit into the state’s image of a modern, moderate state where a smart 21st-century executive would want to invest?

Anti-gay laws? Shariah legislation? Guns in bars? Some of the worst-funded public schools and worst-paid teachers in the nation? Shrinking the once proud University of North Carolina’s budget? Harsh anti-abortion legislation? The list goes on…

The lawmakers claim not to be concerned about the national coverage. I believe them. But they should be.

They may not read or watch the national news. But guess who does? The deep pockets who decide where the jobs will go.

Think about the companies that North Carolina is counting on to invest in its future: MetLife of New York; Citrix Systems of Santa Clara, Calif.; Fidelity Systems of Boston; Wells Fargo of San Francisco; GlaxoSmithKline of London; Cisco Systems of San Jose, Calif.; Lenovo of Beijing; and Credit Suisse of Zurich…

What kind of brand do you think these out-of-state companies are looking for? Do you think they are looking for strife-filled states with bargain basement taxes whose politics have become political three-ring circuses? Or are they looking for moderate, well-regulated states?

Six months into his administration, McCrory may have already lost control of the branding issue.

Ummm, yep.  There’s a reason nobody wants to relocate to Alabama, Mississippi, or South Carolina.  The Republican party is doing its best to have us follow in the ignominious footsteps of those states.  And, as smart people and discerning businesses stay away, the impact could be devastating for decades.  Fortunately, the Triangle area and Charlotte still remain huge draws, but if you gut the schools enough, even this areas will lose their charm and business and productive citizens will choose to go elsewhere.  But hey, North Carolina’s richest people can be happier about their lower tax rates.  I’m sure that’s a good trade-off.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to The North Carolina Brand

  1. pino says:

    Anti-gay laws? Shariah legislation? Guns in bars? Some of the worst-funded public schools and worst-paid teachers in the nation? Shrinking the once proud University of North Carolina’s budget? Harsh anti-abortion legislation?

    The anti-gay laws I get. But the rest?

    Meh.

    The whole Sharia thing doesn’t matter to me, guns in bars? I think that a bar should be able to decide. As for the schools? Well, there is little evidence that shows better funding increases outcomes.

    And the “once proud? UNC? Is it no longer proud? And shrinking the budget of a University is somehow crazy because?

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